[Editor’s note: The post does not have the usual snarky attitude of The Dismal Political Economist. We apologize for that and hope it does not happen again. Also, we think he has exhausted the marriage equality issue and we have asked him to move on to other topics.]
The problem many of us have with those opposed to same sex marriage is trying to understand why. Economists talk about externalities, which is where the actions of one set of individuals spill over and affect other individuals. But what are the externalities involved when someone else gets married, regardless of who they are. How does that affect anyone else?
A story in the New York Times clears up the mystery, or at least tries to. The article presents the other side, and tells the story of those opposed to allowing same sex couples to wed. And here is the explanation of the opposition.
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
“In redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, what you’re doing is you’re excluding the norm of sexual complementarity,” Mr. Anderson, the Heritage Foundation fellow, said. “Once you exclude that norm, the three other norms — which are monogamy, sexual exclusivity and permanency — become optional as well.”
The result, proponents of traditional marriage say, would be further rises in divorce rates and out-of-wedlock births.
Okay, so now we now what their objections are. But the first point is gibberish, it makes no sense to anyone at least in the context of same sex marriage. As for the other points, well now we have the externalities identified. But identifying the externalities does not mean they exist. There has to be a logical argument as to why same sex marriage decreases monogamy, for example, and there has to be data to support the analysis. Both are lacking here. The problem exists only the minds of those who see a problem, and in the minds of those who have animus towards gay and lesbian people.
It may not help the anti-marriage cause either, whose proponents say this.
“Proponents of same-sex marriage have done a fantastic job of telling the story of same-sex marriage through music and television and film, " said Eric Teetsel, 29, the executive director of the Manhattan Declaration, which describes itself as a movement of Christians for life, marriage and religious freedom. “I think it’s really a case where once they hear the other side of the issue, and really think about it deeply, we’re going to win a lot of those folks back.”
Because quite frankly we don’t think the above explanation, if that’s the best they got will do the job. But everyone should welcome the other side to the debate, that’s what we do in a democracy, and everyone on the pro-equality side can afford to be generous. We are winning, they are not. And they seem to recognize this.
“Even if we are doomed, and I’m totally naïve, I think it’s important that I do this work anyway,” Mr. Teetsel, of the
Declaration, said. “If what I believe is true is true, then I’ve got a
responsibility to be on its side for as long as I can be.” Manhattan
Yes Mr. Teetsel, but if what you believe is false think about the horrible wrong you are doing, how you are supporting and encouraging bigotry and hatred. And the religious freedom you support does not mean the freedom to impose your religious beliefs on others. Okay, we can note the sincerity and dedication of people engaged in trying to deny equal rights to everyone, even if we cannot overlook their hatred and bigotry but wish all of that sincerity and dedication was dedicated to a decent cause.